BAME representation in UK’s top jobs has barely risen in past three years

BAME representation

Colour of Power survey finds issue not addressed despite government-backed targets

The proportion of black, Asian and minority ethnic people in some of the 1,100 most powerful jobs in the UK has barely moved over the past three years, according to a study that highlights the lack of non-white representation across key roles.

Only 51 out of the 1,097 most powerful roles in the country are filled by non-white individuals, an increase of only 1.2%, or 15 people, since 2017, the Colour of Power survey by consultants Green Park and not-for-profit organisation Operation Black Vote said.

That represented 4.7% of the total number compared with the 13% proportion of the UK population.

At the current rate of progress, BAME representation among Britain’s top leaders will not reach 13% until at least 2044 – by which time about a fifth of the UK population is expected to be from an ethnic minority.

The stasis in the upper echelons of British society has remained despite increased scrutiny of institutions’ diversity on ethnicity, gender and class. In recent months racism in some of the UK’s top institutions has come under scrutiny amid the worldwide protests following the killing of US citizen George Floyd and, in the UK, protests that led to the toppling of the statue of slave owner Edward Colston in Bristol.

However, the report showed that many aspects of British life are still dominated by white leaders. There are no BAME chief constables in the UK’s police forces, only six BAME council leaders, one BAME trade union boss and no BAME permanent secretaries in the civil service.

There were only two FTSE 100 chief executives from an ethnic minority and no BAME chief executives from the top UK financial institutions. At the UK’s top 61 law, accountancy and consultancy firms, only six chief executives or managing partners were from an ethnic minority.

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